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Australian PM to visit India next week

Australian PM to visit India next week

Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will visit India next week to "strengthen the strategic partnership" between the two countries and engage with Indian Premier Narendra Modi to increase bilateral cooperation, it was announced Friday.

"I will travel to India and Malaysia" from Sep 4 to 6, said Abbott, for whom it will be his first visit to India as prime minister.

"...I will visit New Delhi and India's financial capital, Mumbai, to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries," he said here.

Australia and India have strong and growing economic and trade ties. India is Australia's fifth largest export market, with total exports of $11.4 billion, and there is potential for further cooperation in resources, science, technology and education, an official statement said.

"My visit will be an opportunity to engage with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi early in the term of his government to increase bilateral cooperation to advance our mutual interests.

"I will also meet other senior political leaders, including President (Pranab Mukherjee)," he added.

The visit will be an opportunity to "promote trade and investment and promote our G20 objectives ahead of the Brisbane summit in November", said the Australian prime minister who will be accompanied on the India visit by a group of senior business leaders.

In the second leg, Abbott travels to Malaysia for talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Australia's defence ties with Malaysia are amongst the closest in South East Asia and "we feel a deep connection to Malaysia given shared experiences arising from the MH370 and MH17 disasters".

Our trade has grown year-on-year, with two-way trade last year worth almost $18 billion, he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have studied in Australia and "we will soon see more Australians travelling the other way when Malaysia joins the New Colombo Plan in 2015".

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